Mental health matters - this year more than ever

In the first month of COVID-19 restrictions in Australia, mental health problems such as depression and anxiety were at least twice as prevalent as in non-pandemic circumstances.

This National Mental Health Month, the Rapid Context team has been taking time to refresh our skills and knowledge in Mental Health First Aid. 2020 has been a tough year! We have been faced with a range of challenges that are impacting on our mental health and wellbeing – both in the workplace and outside of it. From those dealing with extended periods of lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the isolation that comes with that (we love you Melbourne!), to dealing with different ways of working, and the added challenges of remote learning, to financial stress and concern about job security - everyone seems to have a lot on their plate.

In addition to looking after our individual mental health, we want to be in a good position to provide support and assistance to those around us who are experiencing mental health challenges or crisis.

That’s why over the last few weeks our team has undertaken a Mental Health First Aid course. This evidence-based course is designed to teach:

  • The signs and symptoms of common and disabling mental health problems in adults

  • How to provide initial help

  • Where and how to get professional help

  • What help has been shown to be effective, and

  • How to provide first aid in a crisis situation.

The course has certainly helped to increase our confidence and skills to assist someone experiencing a mental health problem or mental health crisis until appropriate professional help is received or the crisis resolves, using a practical, evidence-based action plan.

From our team to yours, we recommend taking some time this month to reflect both on your own mental health and whether there are people around you who are struggling. If you’re interested in developing some more knowledge and skills to help give first aid to someone experiencing a mental health problem, visit Mental Health First Aid Australia.

If this has raised any issues for you, you can contact:

Lifeline 24 Hour Counselling and Crisis Support

13 11 14

Beyond Blue: The national depression and anxiety initiative

Black Dog Institute

Katherine Post is Managing Director, Business Development at Rapid Context. Katherine is a policy expert and lawyer who has worked in senior federal government roles across a broad range of areas including legal and regulatory reform, Indigenous affairs, housing and homelessness and women’s policy.

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